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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Cover of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
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Critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Saenz's Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe has earned numerous awards, including a Michael L. Printz Honor. Aristotle is an angry loner with a brother in prison. Dante figures he knows just about everything there is to know about the world. But when the two meet and start spending time together, they learn important truths about themselves—and about their feelings for each other.

Critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Saenz's Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe has earned numerous awards, including a Michael L. Printz Honor. Aristotle is an angry loner with a brother in prison. Dante figures he knows just about everything there is to know about the world. But when the two meet and start spending time together, they learn important truths about themselves—and about their feelings for each other.

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Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 19, 2011
    Fifteen-year-old Aristotle (Ari) has always felt lonely and distant from people until he meets Dante, a boy from another school who teaches him how to swim. As trust grows between the boys and they become friends (a first for Ari), Ari’s world opens up while they discuss life, art, literature, and their Mexican-American roots. Additionally, the influence of Dante’s warm, open family (they even have a “no secrets” rule) is shaping Ari’s relationship with his parents, particularly in regard to a family secret; Ari has an older brother in prison, who no one ever mentions. In a poetic coming-of-age story written in concise first-person narrative, Sáenz (Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood) crystallizes significant turning points in the boys’ relationship, especially as Ari comes to understand that Dante’s feelings for him extend beyond friendship. The story swells to a dramatic climax as Ari’s loyalties are tested, and he confronts his most deeply buried fears and desires. It’s a tender, honest exploration of identity and sexuality, and a passionate reminder that love—whether romantic or familial—should be open, free, and without shame. Ages 12–up.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 24, 2013
    In Sáenz’s novel, 15-year-olds Aristotle and Dante struggle with the complexities and insecurities of growing up as they try to understand and navigate family secrets, their sexual identities, their identities as Mexican-Americans, and their increasingly complicated friendship. Lin-Manuel Miranda hands in a nuanced performance, capturing Ari’s inner confusion and self-loathing, his unexpressed rage at his parents, and his mixed feelings about best friend Dante. Miranda is just as effective in capturing Dante, lending him an upbeat, likable, nerdy voice. For the book’s other characters, the narrator takes an understated approach, allowing listeners to understand who is speaking to whom without creating full-fledged character voices. Because of Miranda’s standout performance, listeners will truly understand these two boys as they travel the difficult journey toward becoming men. Ages 12-up. A Simon & Schuster hardcover.

  • AudioFile Magazine Lin-Manuel Miranda's neutral tones highlight the simplicity of this powerful, sparely written book. He accurately represents the defensive posture of 15-year-old Ari, who feels distanced from his own life. Miranda's clipped expression reflects the teen's frustrating attempts to comprehend secrets and other important aspects of his world: why his father hides his memories of Vietnam and why no one speaks of his imprisoned older brother, along with how he can come to terms with his confused feelings for Dante, another Latino boy, and, toughest of all, how he can make sense of who he really is. The dispassionate tone of both author and narrator belie the conflicting emotions Ari feels as he tries to grow up in a "universe of almost-men." S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine
  • School Library Journal

    November 1, 2013

    Gr 9 Up-When Dante meets and offers to teach Aristotle (Ari) how to swim at the local pool, neither boy has a clue how much their lives will change. While both are 15-year-old Mexican-Americans living in El Paso, they differ in many ways. Dante is self-assured and charismatic, while Ari is introverted, plagued with self-doubt, and obsessed with thoughts of his jailed older brother. The two loners find common ground and form a strong friendship. Family plays an important role in both boys' lives. Dante's professor father is open and close to his son, while Ari's dad is a Vietnam veteran who never shows his feelings and has trouble relating to his son. The boys' friendship is tested in numerous ways when Dante moves to Chicago for a year and, upon returning to El Paso, tells Ari he is gay and in love with him. Ari's confusion and eventual self-discovery is beautifully portrayed by narrator Lin-Manuel Miranda. This 2013 Printz and Stonewall award-winning book (S & S, 2012) is a wonderful coming-of-age story, and Miranda does a stellar job of capturing the essences of both teen characters. A terrific addition to audiobook collections.-Julie Paladino, East Chapel Hill High School, NC

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Benjamin Alire Saenz
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